One of these things is just like the other?
Not hardly. Joan Walsh in Salon...
One guy is talking, perhaps inelegantly, about why he's wholeheartedly supporting our first black president; the other is wishing the country had elected a racist. That's exactly the same thing!It's hard to believe we're still talking about this, but I've noticed some commentary from folks I assumed would know better buying into the notion that what Harry Reid said was a racist comment because he used an antiquated word. On closer examination, there seems to be something of a generational divide. Being an antique myself, I remember the word from its time of common usage, and it was not one of the many words that actual racists used to the folks who now prefer black, African-American or Afro-American. A lot of folks a couple decades younger than I am have only been exposed to the word in a historical sense, and it hearkens back to a time less enlightened in many respects, perhaps giving it a negative associations.
I'm from the "call people what they want to be called" school myself, but Senator Reid didn't call anyone anything. He used a term that's generally obsolete among folks under, say, 50, to refer to a characteristic dialect. The fact that the term isn't completely obsolete is demonstrated best by its continued descriptive value. While most of us wouldn't say it exactly the same way, everyone understood what Reid said, and every honest observer would agree that his usage and intent was completely non-racist.
Not only non-racist, but not "offensive," either. Words can't be offensive unless there is an offended target, and Harry and Barry are cool.
It's another ginned up Republican controversy, another fogbank to disguise the actual racists and racism they not only tolerate, but cultivate. Don't fall for it.
Hat tip to jnfr.